Sunday, November 19, 2006

Praising God down!

Modern, especially Charismatic, churches seem to have this notion that we have to continually sing louder in order to bring God down into the service. There is this idea that we have to sing in tongues or at least make a lot of noise in order for God to inhabit our praises, thereby joining us in our services.

This happened in church today. People were making a lot of noise when the worship leader took control of the situation and announced that we weren't there yet. We were then told to sing in tongues and to lift our voices even higher for God to inhabit our praises.

(1)  When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 
(2)  And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.

(Ac 2:1-2)

Scripture seems to be so different from the concocted ideas that the church can come up with at times. The disciples were told to wait in Jerusalem until the promise. When the promise came, it wasn't because they conjured Him down! He came in His own time. The amazing thing was that they weren't jumping up and down shouting at the top of their lungs in order to ensure His arrival! "They were sitting!" This indicates a very relaxed atmosphere in which no one was forced to do anything to bring God down into the house!

It will also not help to quote verses from the Old Testament! The Old Testament (OT) had very different "mechanics" than the New Testament (NT). In the OT there was a physical place where God dwelt and showed Himself. The Temple!  This is where God came down to, in order to visit the people. In the NT it is very different. Whereas in the OT, God showed Himself at various times in the temple, in the NT there is no longer a physical temple where we must go to meet God! Now, the Christian is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:19), and He does not take up residence at various times in the Christian's life, but rather He indwells the Christian at all times.

It seems to me that the evangelical church has gone so far down the road towards seeking the next experience that it will get up to almost any kind of shenanigans to make those experiences real. Whether these methods are Scriptural or not, do not seem to deter them from seeking the next big thing.

To them, especially if they are charismatic, worship has undergone a tragic metamorphosis. It has happened so often that people would exit the church saying that worship wasn't good that day and that it did nothing for them.

A pastor was once waiting at the door of the church he pastored at the end of the service, and when a visitor walked out he asked the visitor how he enjoyed the service. The visitor answered that he enjoyed the sermon, but the worship did nothing for him. Hearing this the pastor answered him by saying, "Well I am glad to hear that. We didn't come here to worship you!"

The problem with this neo-evangelicalism is that it has become very self-centred and selfish in its motives. This church has become obsessed with itself, thinking that it is the center of the universe. It has forgotten about the Creator of the universe to the extent that it has denied Him His rightful place, and in the process usurped the throne of the King of kings.

If the church's aim is to move from experience to experience, it will never grow up to full maturity in Christ. If the only thing that can keep it going is adrenalin, then it surely has lost its way. Adrenalin does not strengthen the spirit of man. It simply gives a momentary feeling of invincibility and then fades away.

What will help the spirit to be strengthened is to daily spend time in the study of the Scriptures and to meditate on it.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.
(2 Tim 2:15)

We are supposed to work at learning the truth of the Scriptures and to live thereby. These neo-evangelicals are forever looking for short cuts to growing in Christ (sanctification). The fact is that there are no short cuts. There are no easy ways to be sanctified in Christ. If it all depended on following ten steps and five songs at the top of our voices we would be back to serving the law in order to gain acceptance before God! If our sanctification depended on recipes to follow, it would be the same as following the law in order to secure that sanctification.

The fact is that acquiring sanctification cannot be acquired in a moment when that adrenalin shoots through our veins. Sanctification takes a lifetime of glorifying God in everything we do and living out the Word that we study each day!

If the church wants reformation, it certainly is going about it the wrong way!

It is time the church moves back to the basics and stops seeking grand schemes to get highs on adrenalin.

The neo-evangelicals surely are experience-adrenalin junkies!

May it find deliverance!

Just thinking...


Patrick said...

About 3 years ago I dropped into a black hole – four months of absolute terror. I wanted to end my life, but somehow [Holy Spirit], I reached out to a friend who took me to hospital. I had three visits [hospital] in four months – I actually thought I was in hell. I had been seeing a therapist [1994] on a regular basis, up until this point in time. I actually thought I would be locked away – but the hospital staff were very supportive [I had no control over my process]. I was released from hospital 16th Sep 1994, but my fear, pain & shame had only subsided a little. I remember this particular morning waking up [home] & my process would start up again [fear, pain, & shame]. No one could help me, not even my therapist [I was terrified]. I asked Jesus Christ to have mercy on me & forgive me my sins. Slowly, all my fear has dissipated & I believe Jesus delivered me from my “psychological prison.” I am a practicing Catholic & the Holy Spirit is my friend & strength; every day since then has been a joy & blessing. I deserve to go to hell for the life I have led, but Jesus through His sacrifice on the cross, delivered me from my inequities. John 3: 8, John 15: 26, are verses I can relate to, organically. He’s a real person who is with me all the time. I have so much joy & peace in my life, today, after a childhood spent in orphanages [England & Australia]. Fear, pain, & shame, are no longer my constant companions. I just wanted to share my experience with you [Luke 8: 16 – 17].
Peace Be With You

William Dicks said...

Hi Patrick,

Thanks for telling me your story. I see that you do express a trust in the finished work of Christ on the cross for your sins. However, I do pray that you would continue to grow in Christ and continue to feed on the Word of God, the Bible, and as a result grow in the truth of the gospel devoid of all man-made traditions. May you be taken from strength to strength!


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